The Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) continues to provide loan assistance to agri-fishery-based micro and small enterprises (MSEs) and marginalized and small farmers and fishers (MSFF) nationwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the time that our stakeholders, especially our farmers and fishers, need us the most. They are the ones hardly affected by this crisis,” DA Secretary William Dar said.

Under the Survival and Recovery (SURE) COVID-19 Loan Program, P310 million loans were already downloaded to 45 MSEs from 28 provinces and Metro Manila as of May 20, 2020. The MSE-borrowers will pay the zero-interest loans in five years.

Said loans will be used by MSEs as working capital to ensure the availability of food supply and help them recover their losses incurred from the effects of ECQ.

Under the same program, the DA-ACPC has already transferred P518.488 million to its 47 partner-lending conduits in 32 provinces as of May 20, 2020. Of the total transferred fund, P198.355M were released by 27 lending conduits to 7,898 farmers and fishers from 17 provinces.

Each beneficiary received a non-collateralized loan of P25,000 each with zero interest payable in 10 years. The financial assistance aims to finance the emergency and production capital requirements of the farmers and fishers whose incomes were affected by the lockdown during the crisis.

Amid the challenges on transportation, movement of goods and services, and social distancing policies brought about by the ECQ, the DA-ACPC continues to modify procedures to adapt to the “new normal” to fast track loan releases in coordination with its lending conduits, DA-Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs), and local government units (LGUs).

The DA-ACPC’s SURE COVID-19 loan program, which has a P2.5 billion fund, targets to provide financial support to 150 MSEs and 40,000 MSFF nationwide.  It forms part of the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 Program (ALPAS kontra COVID-19), the DA’s initiative to increase the country’s food adequacy level during the emergency situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.